Allen Chudzinski showing patient diagram of digestive system while both are wearing masks at AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa.

Less Invasive Approaches, Even for Rare Cancers

Our surgeons at the AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa offer minimally invasive surgery to treat a number of digestive cancers, including small bowel and duodenal cancer. Small bowel cancer is cancer in the small intestine, and it is very rare. When it does occur, it is most commonly an adenocarcinoma that appears in the duodenum, or the first foot of the small intestine. The duodenum is where bile from the gallbladder and insulin from the pancreas enter the small intestine to aid in digestion. Duodenal cancer often behaves a lot like pancreatic cancer does, so treatment is often similar.

Small Bowel Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms of a small bowel cancer are often very similar to other digestive cancers and conditions.

Small bowel cancer symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal pain, especially pain that starts or gets worse after eating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Dark-colored stools
  • Anemia, or low red blood cell count
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Obstructed bowel if tumor grows large enough

Diagnosis of Small Bowel Cancer

Because small bowel cancer is so rare and the symptoms are similar to other digestive conditions, your doctor will likely first suspect another condition. However, the tests he or she will order for you will be similar to those needed to diagnose small bowel cancer.

Tests for small bowel cancer may include:

  • Blood work
  • Imaging tests such as a barium X-ray tests, a CT scan and/or MRI scan
  • An upper endoscopy procedure that can see into the duodenum, or first part of the small intestine
  • A capsule endoscopy or small bowel enteroscopy to look deeper into the small intestine for tumors there
  • Collecting tissue samples for biopsy, which could be by endoscopy, CT-guided needle biopsy or even minimally invasive, exploratory surgery. These samples are studied under a microscope by a pathologist, who determines if they are cancerous.

Surgical Treatments for Small Bowel/Duodenal Cancer at AdventHealth Tampa

Surgery is often the first line of treatment for small bowel cancers, and it is the only treatment to date that can cure a small bowel cancer.

At Digestive Institute Tampa, surgery for small bowel cancers can often be done as a minimally invasive procedure that takes one of three forms:

Minimally Invasive Pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure)
Cancers of the duodenum are treated with a pancreaticoduodenectomy, more commonly known as a Whipple procedure. This same surgical procedure is used to treat many pancreatic cancers. The Whipple procedure is a very complex surgery. In addition to removing the duodenum, gallbladder and nearby lymph nodes, it involves resecting parts of the pancreas and stomach. The advanced gastrointestinal surgeons at DHI are very experienced in performing the Whipple procedure, and they offer it as a minimally invasive surgery whenever possible.

Segmental Resection
Small bowel cancers in the lower part of the small intestine can often be treated with segmental resection. This surgery involves removing the portion of the intestine with the tumor. Then, the two ends of the remaining intestine are reattached. Whenever possible, Digestive Institute surgeons offer segmental resection as a minimally invasive surgery. If removing the cancer also involves the colon, then Dr. Ross and her team can draw on the experience of the Digestive Institute colon and rectal surgeons Dr. Allen Chudzinski and Dr. Gavin Sigle to provide seamless care for our patients.

Palliative Surgery
For small bowel cancers that cannot be surgically removed because they are at an advanced stage, Digestive Institute offers procedures that can help relieve a patient’s pain or symptoms. While these procedures will not cure the cancer, they can help unblock the intestine so the patient can function as normally as possible.

Surgical Cancer Care

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  • Esophageal Cancer

    Typically esophageal cancer requires surgery in addition to radiation and chemotherapy. Learn more about the surgical treatments our specialists can provide.

  • Gastric/Stomach Cancer

    We help diagnose and treat stomach cancer. We even have minimally invasive options. Learn more about how our gastroenterologists can help you.

  • Duodenal/Small Bowel Cancer

    Our gastroenterologists diagnose and treat small bowel and duodenal cancer. We offer three minimally invasive treatment options in Tampa.

  • Pancreatic Cancer

    Our surgeons are among the region’s most experienced in pancreatic surgery. We can help treat your cancer with minimally invasive options. Learn more today.

  • Liver Cancer

    Our AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa surgeons offer surgical and non-surgical liver cancer treatments, depending on your specific case. Schedule an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists.

  • Gallbladder Cancer

    Removing the gallbladder with cancer is a very complex surgery that requires highly experienced surgeons like those at AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa.

  • Colon and Rectal Cancer

    Our experienced gastroenterologists can diagnose and treat colon and rectal cancer in Tampa. Learn more about treatment and surgery options.

  • Anal Cancer

    Our colon and rectal surgeons can help diagnose and treat anal cancer in Tampa. We offer anal cancer surgery when necessary.

  • Public Reporting of Outcomes

    Our compassionate medical staff is committed to providing high-quality healthcare services in Hillsborough County.

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Recover Faster With Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery

All the surgeons at the Digestive Health Institute (DHI) have a large depth of experience in offering minimally invasive surgery.

Meet The Experts

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Dr. Sharona Ross.

Sharona Ross


Advanced Foregut & HPB Surgeon

Dr. Iswanto Sucandy

Iswanto Sucandy


Advanced HPB Surgeon

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Surgical Consultations For Digestive Cancer Without The Wait

Appointments Within Five Days for Patients with Cancer

At AdventHealth Digestive Institute, we know that after being diagnosed with cancer, patients want and often need to begin treatment quickly. So we make it a priority to offer appointments for cancer surgery consultations within five business days, and often earlier.

Patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer, or have just found out they have cancer again, qualify for this priority access. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion. We want to help you start your treatment as soon as possible.

News and Info

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To help promote minimally invasive surgery – which has many benefits for patients – and share their expertise, AdventHealth Digestive Institute (DI) surgeons such as Iswanto Sucandy, MD, FACS, advanced HPB (liver, pancreas and bile duct) surgeon, and Sharona Ross, MD, FACS, advanced HPB and foregut...

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